The Raiders knew when they agreed to make the move to Las Vegas that the 2019 season was going to be the trickiest of the three seasons they had left in Oakland. Their lease agreement with the City of Oakland and the Coliseum would be up, leaving them “homeless” for that season. Well, here we are in February of 2019, and the Raiders still don’t have a stadium to play in.
Ian Rapoport reported earlier today that Coliseum executive director, Scott McKibben said the two parties are talking and are “going to see if we can get something done” on a one year lease agreement for 2019. This comes after every other (realistic) option the Raiders had has been completely exhausted.
Mark Davis has taken a lot of criticism over the last three years about the move to take the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. Most of that has come the the Oakland fans themselves. It’s understandable. The Raider Nation boasts some of the proudest and most loyal fans in the NFL. Davis is taking their team away from them, and they’re not happy.
Though it may seem like Davis is in a no win situation, he should use this as an opportunity to endear himself with the fans in the Bay Area before the team leaves for good. Sure, the team needs a stadium for 2019. Sure, they tried to find a better option and failed, and this seems like the ONLY option left. And sure, the city is suing him, and he doesn’t want to pay a city rent money in the face of a law suit. But maybe Davis should just forget about all of that. Forget all of the bad blood with the “city of Oakland,” and reconnect with the people of Oakland for one last run.
Mark Davis needs to turn this situation into the biggest PR move in the history of the franchise. Tell the fans that despite being sued, he’s willing to pay $7.5M to play in a dump for one last season. Tell the fans that even though the politicians of Oakland have turned their backs on him, the Raiders won’t turn their backs on the fans. Tell them that he’s doing all of this them! Become the champion for the Raider Nation. Make every game all about the fans. Have more giveaways. Have more meet & greets. Let this final season in Oakland be a tribute to the fans and everything they have meant to this franchise. Every game should be a party celebrating just how much Mark Davis and the Raiders organization love all of Raider Nation. Every day will be fan appreciation day! It may be the only way for him to keep this fan base unified in their final season in Oakland.
It’s unfortunate that the Raiders and Oakland could’t find common ground. Even after a short run in LA (1982-1994), they were always considered Oakland’s team. That all changes in 2020. There’s no going back to Oakland after this move, at least not till about 2070 or so. Las Vegas is good for the Raiders. It’s good for the NFL. It’s not good for the city of Oakland. It’s not good for the fans that grew up in the shadow of the Coliseum. It’s those people that Mark Davis needs to reach out to. Bring those fans back and remind them why they love the silver & black. Make every day about them so that when you do leave, they’re willing to follow.